Districts’ and Teachers’ Unions Sue over Bush Law
Reprinted from the Public Education Network Weekly NewsBlast, April 22, 2005
Opening a new front in the growing rebellion against President Bush’s signature education law, the nation’s largest teachers’ union and eight school districts in Michigan, Texas and Vermont have sued the Department of Education, accusing it of violating a passage in the law that says states cannot be forced to spend their own money to meet federal requirements. Some legal scholars said that the union, the National Education Association, had assembled a compelling cause of action. Still, they added, since the case has few close precedents, it was difficult to judge the suit’s prospects, reports Sam Dillon. But it was clearly another headache for Margaret Spellings, the secretary of education, who is trying to resolve a federal-state conflict over the law, known as No Child Left Behind, that has taken on new forms in recent days. A day before the suit was filed, Utah’s Republican-dominated Legislature approved the most far-reaching legislative challenge to the law. Both the Utah measure, which requires educators there to spend as little state money as possible in carrying out the federal law’s requirements, and the union lawsuit rely heavily on the same section of the federal law, which prohibits federal officials from requiring states to allocate their own money to fulfill the law’s mandates. This month, Connecticut’s attorney general also announced the intention to sue the department on the same grounds, saying that the testing the law requires costs far more than the money the state is given to pay for it.
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